Where is Jaylen Brown in the Most Improved Player race?

Jaylen Brown is one of eight-to-twelve NBA players whose names appear on NBA Most Improved Player candidate lists. Here is a list of seven which I will quickly cut to four:

Jaylen Brown
Kristaps Porzingis
Victor Oladipo
Aaron Gordon
D'Angelo Russell
Brandon Ingram
Jonathan Simmons

The first to go is D'Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets, and not simply because of his knee injury. His improvement over last year just would not have made him a viable candidate. Jonathan Simmons is the next to go. He has been liberated in Orlando, and his numbers have all improved. But he just doesn't seem to have have much of a chance at the award. Kristaps Porzingis has seen his minutes, rebounds and assists go down from last year, and overall his other numbers don't show a large enough improvement to warrant serious consideration here.

So that leaves Jaylen Brown, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Brandon Ingram. Oladipo has seen his minutes decline very slightly, but most of the remaining stats are up significantly. He is averaging 22.8 PPG on 47.0% from the floor and 43.8% from beyond the arc. He also grabs 5.0 RPG and hands out an average of 3.9 assists. This guy is a serious MIP candidate.

So is Aaron Gordon. With only a slight increase in minutes (now 32.9), he is scoring at an 18.6 PPG clip compared to 12.7 PPG last season. He is shooting a 51.0 FG% and 43.8% on threes. His rebounds went from 5.1 per game last year to 8.4 this year. Serious improvement.

Brandon Ingram has shown improvement in virtually all his stats, including his scoring which went from 9.4 PPG to 15.7 PPG this season. He is getting more minutes (25.5) and producing. It is still early in the season, but so far I can not see him competing with Oladipo and Gordon for the award.

So how about Jaylen Brown. Brown's minutes have gone from 17.2 last season to 32.2 this year, the largest increase of any player previously-mentioned, and he is getting these minutes on the team with the best record in the League. His average points have more than doubled, from 6.6 to 15.6, and his boards have gone from 2.8 to 6.3. His FG% is up slightly to 46.3%, but his three-point percentage has improved significantly from 34.1% to 41.2%. Perhaps more important, Brown has helped fill the void in defense created by the trades of Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, and he has done it despite the stress and grief created by the death of his best childhood friend.

Thus far, the MIP race seems to come down to Brown, Gordon and Oladipo. Jaylen may take a bit of a beating due to being somewhat overshadowed by Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. Aaron and Victor tend to be more in the limelight. Other players may come into the mix as the season progresses, and our readers may have their own views. Let's hear them.

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